Savanah Prigge, or Miss Savanah, is in her second year of service with our family as an Amigos de Jesús volunteer and is responsible for introducing the 'hogar' to its newest obsession: volleyball. Affectionately known by many 'apodos' (nicknames), including Miss 'Girafa' (giraffe) because of her height or even Miss 'Sabana' (sheet) or 'Cobija' (blanket) to play off the fact that her name, when pronounced by the children, sounds like the Spanish word for sheet, it is Miss Savanah's calm, humility, and servant-mindedness that make her stand out even more than her height or name. Working in the 'kinder,' or preschool, classroom at our school, Miss Savanah's patience is unmatched as she expertly navigates teaching in English to twelve 4-5 year old Spanish-speakers. Outside of the classroom, Miss Savanah is devoted to the boys dorm that she is assigned to, often spending hours in the afternoons or on the weekends coloring, playing cars, and running around with them. In the 'hogar' and within her community of volunteers, it is Miss Savanah's example, attention to detail, initiate, 'yes' to all the little things that too often get overlooked, and love for our kids that will be so dearly missed when she leaves this February.
Read more about Savanah in her interview below:
Hometown: Cottonwood, Idaho
University: University of Idaho
Majors/Minors: Food Science
What is your role at Amigos this year?
This year I am serving as a preschool teacher and I am in charge of the ‘padrino’ (child sponsorship) letter program on the Honduras side. I also make videos to share on social media and teach volleyball as an after school activities class. At nights and on weekends, I am assigned to a boys dorm where I eat dinner, help out with homework, and play. (Miss Savanah also taught English in both Level 1 and Level 2 of EducaTodos in her first year.)
What were you doing before you came to Amigos?
Before coming to Amigos, I was a college student. I graduated in May of 2016 and moved down to Honduras in June 2016. I remember in April looking for jobs online in food science and really not being excited about anything. Like a true millennial, I started Googling other options and stumbled across Amigos de Jesús online. I was able to email a former volunteer and ended up talking on the phone with her for an hour later that week. It was one of those few conversations that changes the course of your whole life.
What made you stay for a second year?
It’s funny now, but part of the reason I chose to volunteer at Amigos was because it was a one year commitment rather than two years, but it turned out that God had other plans for my time here. I think that everyone who visits here for any amount of time can see what a special place it is and would love to spend longer here. Fortunately, I’m in such a place in my life that I can do that. It’s not easy to make the decision to be away from home for so long, but I am blessed with an amazing support system of family and friends who have been nothing short of amazing and that helps a lot. Now, I couldn’t be happier that I am still here and have the opportunity to see the kids grow and further relationships with them. One little boy that I am close with just turned 7 and I realized that when I met him, he was 5!
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is teaching preschool. It is definitely my most exhausting and frustrating job also haha, but I feel so blessed to spend time every day with the little kids. They may be small, but they have the biggest personalities! It’s such a cool opportunity to spend that structured time with them in the classroom and then be able to play and eat with them in the 'hogar.' I teach in English and it’s the first time that many of my students have heard English so it can be rather hilarious some days. I might ask, “What color is this book?” and hear a response like “Monday”. There is never a dull moment.
Can you share a favorite memory?
Oh dear, I don’t know how to begin answering this one. I’ll share my favorite thing to do with the kids right now, which is play volleyball. Volleyball is one of my passions that I never thought I would get to share with the kids because they are so obsessed with soccer. As always, the kids never cease to amaze me and they have recently been wanting to play volleyball all the time and are quickly getting better than me! The metal shop built an “official” net so we were able to play all during Christmas break and even during the Christmas and New Year’s parties. I had to laugh thinking about how I used to spend Christmas break sledding or playing in the snow and this year we were playing volleyball in shorts and t-shirts!
Can you share a favorite teaching moment?
I’ll just share one about a little boy, Alonso*, who came to live at the 'hogar' last year. Alonso is a very cute, energetic, and loving boy. He was born without thumbs. In true little kid fashion, all the little preschoolers asked a million questions about his hands and wanted to see, but then 5 minutes later had completely forgotten and Alonso was just like any other little boy. Fortunately, Alonso was able to have a surgery this past summer that moved his index fingers down lower on his hands so that they can function more like thumbs. It was a long process of healing and for much of the time, his hands and arms were in casts. The other kids thought that his casts were pretty cool and quickly learned that he wasn’t able to do a lot of things on his own and would jump in to help him with art projects. When he was finally able to start learning to hold a pencil and trace his name for the first time without help, I got really excited and say “WOW Alonso! Good job, you did it!” and I started clapping. All of a sudden, I hear another little girl chime in “Good job Alonso.” We stopped class for a minute and we all clapped for Alonso. It's moments like these that I could never teach the kids and just have to sit back and learn from them. They don’t see people’s differences at a disadvantage, they see them as beautiful and as an opportunity to support and love one another.